The March 8th, in an election in which razed almost with him 55 percent of the votes, Joan Laporta became president – for the second time – of FC Barcelona for the next six years.
With the backing of the sporting and economic results that the club achieved in its first term at the club (2003 to 2010), the Barça fans bet ‘on the safe side’, by experience, by the familiar face and the ‘friend’ of several footballers of the squad that existed at the beginning of this 2021. Leo Messi, one of them. The main one, in fact.
His return was taken as a true balm after the management of Josep María Bartomeu that left the team sunk in one of its worst sporting crises, and the most serious in the economic aspect.
However, as the months went by, Laporta’s campaign promises gradually faded to the point that of that “competitive team” that he promised with Messi as commander-in-chief, little and nothing remains.
The main flag that Laporta used to return to the Barça presidency was Messi. He promised, guaranteed its continuity, a speech that he maintained when he assumed the reins of the institution.
“It is not a question of money, this has made it very easy for us, he wants to stay … I do not consider a ‘no’ from Messi … Relax, everything is going well, progress adequately”, were some of his phrases in which he gave as a fact the renewal of the now former ’10’ culé.
Even the manager signed Sergio ‘Kun’ Agüero, a close friend of Leo, and it is said that he promised him the hiring of Norwegian Erling Haaland, so that he would not have the pretext of leaving for another club.
The outcome is well known … Six months after being elected president of Barcelona, Messi’s departure is undoubtedly Laporta’s great condemnation, but there are some others who are not happy with a good part of Barcelona.
Next, the 7 sins of Laporta, who went from redeemer to phony … At least so far.
1.- The continuity of Koeman.
Laporta took office just when Barcelona was about to play the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 against Paris Saint-Germain.
In the first leg at the Camp Nou the team fell 1-4, so the mission was to go to Paris so that the win was not greater. The manager visited the staff and tried to inject encouragement, even haranguing a “comeback”, like that historic one in 2017 … It did not happen.
Koeman’s Barça was left out of the Champions League in the Round of 16 for the first time in 13 years, and without putting their hands in it.
Then the failure in LaLiga was signed. It was not played well throughout the season, far from the historical philosophy of the club, and as if that were not enough he let slip points against teams in the lower part of the table, with which he reached the last day with no chance of fighting for the title. .
Papelón. Poor performance and he didn’t even fight to the end. With these results and with the consolation of obtaining the Copa del Rey thanks to Messi, the continuity of coach Ronald Koeman hung by a thread, and Laporta along with his board of directors took a couple of weeks to “analyze” the situation.
Nothing happened. Days later he confirmed the permanence of the Dutchman, with everything and the failure in terms of style and form of play, and the results are not said.
“It has been reflected and it has been decided to continue with Koeman because we are satisfied with how this period of reflection has gone. We have gotten to know each other better. Ronald has had an impeccable behavior and solutions have been sought for minor differences. That it continues is the best for the Barça “, said the president.
First bad, terrible decision. Keeping a coach with a label of “legend” as a player, but clearly without the ability to lead the club now in his role as coach.
2.- Inability to sell to footballers who do not enter into plans.
The transfer market has just closed, but Laporta did not find out in the last hours that he had to reduce the salary bill and that it was urgent to give way to several footballers who earn very high salaries and to whom the Barça shirt has been enormous.
Phillipe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembélé, Antoine Griezmann, Samuel Umtiti, Miralem Pjanic, Sergi Roberto and Martin Braithwaite, among others, could and could not be negotiated. Except for Griezmann at the last minute and who returned ‘undercut’ to Atlético de Madrid (40 million euros and they paid 120 for him).
It is a reality that other clubs were not willing to pay the high chips of the aforementioned players, who are also far from their best version, but that is where the negotiation capacity comes in, and clearly Laporta and his work team did not have it. .
3.- The Super League
Barcelona allied with Real Madrid, or with Florentino Pérez specifically, to launch a project that was presumed to “revolutionize” football, and ended in a great fiasco.
The creation of the European Super League that had an ephemeral life, as it took longer to announce which clubs were going to form it and how it was intended to play, when UEFA and FIFA stopped it forcefully and all the alleged participants were disengaging from the project .
Of the 12 European powers that were going to participate, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus were left alone. Laporta was unable to stand out when it became clear that the tournament was a utopia. The president of Barcelona remained loyal to Florentino Pérez, yes, the boss of the staunch rival.
4.- Messi’s non-renewal
This chapter is the most painful and the stain that will mark the second stage of Laporta’s management at the helm of Barcelona. Whatever happens in the next six years.
The same: the manager did not know until he had the water on his neck that he had to lower the salary mass to renew the Argentine and register him before LaLiga, it was something that had been known for months; however, the inability and even the lies appeared again.
Messi went to the Copa América without a contract but with the certainty that he would return to renew and, surprise! he is above Barcelona ”and that he would not“ mortgage ”the club for the next 50 years.
And just like that, the one that was the banner of his campaign, his greatest certainty, disappeared. The Messi era is over with what that means. Courtesy of Joan Laporta.
5.- Re-catch Emerson to sell it
On the issue of the Brazilian Emerson Royal, it would seem that Bartomeu advised Laporta. Barcelona had the option to buy back with Betis for the 22-year-old winger, and he carried it out, which was a wise decision, because if the team needed to reinforce any line, that was defense.
“I think Emerson is going to help us a lot to build this sports project that we really want to see succeed,” said Laporta when introducing the national team.
And what happened next? That after three LaLiga matches and after making his debut on the right-back, a position in which Barça has suffered year after year since the departure of Dani Alves, they decide to sell Emerson to Tottenham for 25 million euros.
Incredible but true. He was a footballer who needed, with at least 10 years ahead to offer guarantees on the right wing, and Laporta chose to sell him. Yes, of course, the ‘cheerleaders’ of the manager will talk about the economic crisis and everything well known, but this player was part of the necessary renewal in the squad. Neither Serginho Dest, who is very green, and much less Sergi Roberto, offer guarantees as a right back.
6.- Sign Luuk de Jong
Julen Lopetegui, Sevilla coach, no longer had Luuk de Jong, a 31-year-old Dutch center forward who is basically an area finisher; and why not, Barcelona signed him. Yes, to a veteran footballer of average hair, but who is a countryman of the coach, Ronald Koeman.
Did Barcelona need another forward center when it has Martin Braithwaite, Sergio Agüero, Ansu Fati and Depay himself who can play in that position?
The answer is no. And less to one of De Jong’s characteristics. This attacker was wanted by América and it was with whom Javier Hernández disputed the title in his short-lived stint at Sevilla. That is the level of the Dutchman, not Barcelona. Clearly.
7.- Give the ’10’ to Ansu Fati
And if something was missing, the cherry on the cake. When it was noticed that the minimum tribute that Barça could do to Messi during a season was not to use the ’10’ in the squad, it turns out not.
It was announced that Ansu Fati, one of the jewels of the quarry that last season suffered a serious knee injury that had him off the courts, inherits Leo’s ’10’.
What are Ansu’s merits in using the legendary number? Few, very few, because he is practically a child.
Although, obviously it is a potential figure that was just beginning to emerge both in the club and in the Spanish team.
However, the issue does not go through who was given the number, but at least during this season it should not have been used. It was the number of Messi, the best footballer in the history of Barcelona. For that reason, nothing more.
Thus, there are only seven of Laporta’s “sins”, of some others that he has in his incipient administration.
True, it received the ruins of what was “more than a club”, but the rebuilding started in reverse.